Two upward glances, one last evening, and one very early this morning, almost brought me to tears.
The sun was just setting as I pulled into our driveway last evening. I was awestruck by the way in which just the tree tops were bathed in a golden light. The light had already changed by the time I parked the car and ran out to snap the above picture.
As only the top third of the tree was illuminated, the contrast with the bottom two-thirds was reminiscent of the Chiaroscuro style of painting favoured by Carvaggio and Rembrandt.
I awoke at 5 a.m. this morning, which was little too early for my liking. Had I not let Holly outside, I would have missed the gorgeous morning sky. It was as if someone had stretched some polka-dotted fabric high above me. When I turned towards the south, I spotted Orion's belt, just visible above the tree line. With a slight change in position, I could see the scintillating sliver of the waning crescent moon. The fresh breeze, the quiet of early morning and the feelings that it generated made me thankful that I had the opportunity to go outside at that hour.
Even now, as I write this, I clearly recall those two simple and ordinary, yet extraordinary and enchanting moments. In both cases, I felt as if I was the only person on Earth's observation deck. The only thoughts I had were of what my senses picked up in those five minute segments. Light. Dark. Colour. Beauty. Quiet. Calm. Peace. Joy. Wonder. Celebration. That's pretty good value for a free admission.
How often do you take time to step onto Earth's observation deck and just be? Breathe gently, deeply and slowly. Let your surroundings bathe your senses, if only for five minutes. There's so much on offer - sunrises, sunsets, the tree outside your window, the river running past your office window, the view of the mountains from transit. Your photo albums and the pictures on your phone can be a good stand-in.
Repeat often. Notice how you feel.